I hope you're having a great day, however and with whomever you're spending it. Our day started by Gib bringing the Christmas tree and decorations down from the attic. Early...around 9am. I wasn't even done with my coffee. So we dove in, head first, to get the tree up and decorated.
I have to brag on my hubby for a minute. I'm the light 'putter-upper' and I'm not very fond of this job. However, Gib would simply put one strand around each branch and be done. Hence, the reason I've always had this responsibility. So, this year as Gib was putting each layer of branches on, he said, "Do you want to go ahead and put the lights on as we go?"
Well, some of you might say "DUH", and if so, go ahead. But this idea has NEVER crossed our minds before. We always put the whole tree up, then I tackle the lights. This was a great idea and was much easier, but it allowed me to place them more carefully, and I ran out of lights. So, two trips to the store later for more lights, the tree is complete. Decorations and all. Now we have to get the rest of the decorations in place. Feels good to have such an early start!
Your jaw might drop when you read this, but Thanksgiving has never been that big of a deal to me. I don't have really great memories that stand out on this family holiday. That holiday is Christmas for me. There was one Thanksgiving that I drove to Cleveland, TN to spend it with some friends. (As I recall that was the first Thanksgiving that my mom and step dad were married). And until recently, Gib and I have always spent Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine. Somehow over the last few years, all of that has changed and we've spent the past couple of years with my brother and his family.
But last year, we changed it up again. We decided to do our own thing. Grady had just gone to heaven. I didn't want to be around anyone. I didn't want anyone walking on eggshells around me, not knowing what to say. I wanted to avoid the HUGE ELEPHANT in the room. Because, believe me, it was ever-present everywhere I went. So, Gib, the girls, and myself went to Cracker Barrel for dinner (GREAT deal!) and then went to Lake Lanier for their Nights of Lights. In light of how broken I was, we had an extremely good time. We played at the carnival after driving through the lights. We all rode on our first ferris wheel together and the girls had a grand time on some of the 'rides'.
As I was watching the world moving on, even though mine had stopped two weeks before, enjoying myself as much as I could, I wanted to stop everyone and tell them about Grady. I wanted to scream, "Don't you want to know about what just happened to my baby?!" I did not do either, but after all, it had only been two weeks...
Here are a few pictures of Thanksgiving last year...
Thanksgiving is not unfolding as I planned this year. We were going to go to Cracker Barrel for lunch and then head to Stone Mountain, GA for A Stone Mountain Christmas. Good thing I double-checked because they're not open today! For some reason I was thinking today was Nov. 27th. Oops!
We thought about doing the same thing we did last year, but then decided we'd rather save our money and still do A Stone Mountain Christmas soon. So, we're going to Cracker Barrel in a bit for dinner, then coming home to build a fire, make some hot chocolate, put on our pj's and watch The Polar Express. Sounds GREEEAAAT to me! And the girls think so, too!
Plus, I need to get in bed early because I'm braving Black Friday for the very first time ever! I'm planning on getting up early and hitting the stores. Gib says I should practice my boxing skills. I would if I had any! Instead I'll just go with the flow...
So, even though this particular holiday has never been *tops* on my list, I do love to take time and reflect on the many things for which I'm thankful. Here are just a few...
I'm very thankful and praise God for my beautiful children. Jessica and Emma Grace are the lights of my life. They bring joy and happiness beyond words. They make me laugh, each with their unique sense of humor. I love to hug, squeeze, kiss and cuddle them. I'm thankful that they both still let me do that. This, of course, includes my beautiful Grady, too. I'm thankful that I carried him for 9 months and felt him grow inside of me. I'm thankful that I had him with me for that time and for two days after he was born. Even though his life was much shorter than I hoped, he brought me much happiness. Thoughts of him and dreams we had for him aren't going to come true, but they still bring me happiness. I'm thankful for my "wondering thoughts". God has used Grady's life, both here and in heaven, to teach me so many things.
I'm thankful for my husband. He drives me crazy sometimes, but isn't that what spouses do? I'm thankful that he's a hard worker and good provider for our family. I'm thankful for his patience with me and his understanding of my quirkiness. I'm thankful that he's forgiving of my faults and loves me when I'm not so lovable. I'd be lost without him.
I'm thankful for time. Time has been such a gift to me, especially this last year. There is a saying that "time is the best healer". I am by no means completely healed from the loss of Grady. But I've made tremendous progress throughout this past year, and my prayer is that God will continue to heal my heart as time goes on.
I'm thankful for decisions that have been made, big and small.
I'm thankful for my friends, both old and new. They have truly been my rock and support. I'd be lost without them!
I'm thankful for our health. And I'm thankful that we can afford great supplements to help keep us healthy.
I'm thankful for our home, food, clothes, van and car.
I'm thankful for Buddy. He has brought lots of laughs and love into our home in the short time that we've had him.
I'm thankful for the conveniences in our lives that we, all too often, take for granted. Things like hot water, dishwashers, stove, washer and dryer, high-speed internet, telephones, cell phones, television, hair dryer, flat iron, etc.
But most of all, I'm thankful for Jesus. I'm thankful that God sent his son in human form to live on earth. I'm thankful for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and what each of those represent. That he paid the debt of our sin on that cross so that we are forgiven and have eternal life. All we have to do is believe in Him.
And last but not least, I'm thankful for HOPE. The HOPE we have in Jesus and eternal life through Him in heaven. I've leaned on HIM and that HOPE super hard this last year. And I'm so thankful for it. Because without it, I'd have nothing.
Yes, I'm thankful this Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?